Lean, Six Sigma or Theory of Constraints? How about all three?
That is the approach taken in The Ultimate Improvement Cycle: Maximizing Profits through the Integration of Lean, Six Sigma, and the Theory of Constraints, a just-published book by Bob Sproull.
Sproull, an experienced manufacturing executive and consultant, believes your goal should be to focus your efforts on those areas that will make the greatest difference. He says the way to do this is by drawing the best from Lean and Six Sigma by employing principles drawn from the Theory of Constraints.
The result is a “time-release” formula designed to take advantage of the cyclical nature of improvement to implement change that is perpetually effective.
I find this encouraging because I’ve long believed the debate over whether lean or sigma (or TOC) is best is pointless. Each has its strengths and is particularly useful in some situations, and the point should be to select the approach and the tools that are best for your company’s situation. Sproull’s concepts – which go beyond some other efforts that combine lean and Six Sigma without TOC – may expand your toolbox.
Sproull’s approach deals with cost accounting, variation, waste, and performance measurements, among other areas, though focusing on the right areas to optimize is probably the biggest benefit.
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